September 24, 2013

Volcanoes Statement on Ross Langdon

We understand that one of the victims of the incident at Westgate Mall in Nairobi was Ross Langdon.

Ross was born in Tasmania, Australia and moved to practice architecture in London a few years ago. In early 2010 his practice, Regional Associates were appointed Consultant architects for designing and building Volcanoes Safaris Kyambura Gorge Lodge near Queen Elizabeth National Park in western Uganda. Regional Associates, in partnership with the Volcanoes design and construction team, successfully completed the building of the lodge in early 2012, which was included in the Condé Nast Traveler’s Hot List for the Best New Hotels of the year.

He also acted as a consultant on Volcanoes other lodges in Uganda and Rwanda on an ad-hoc basis until his untimely death. He has left a distinctive legacy of his creativity in different ways within each property and has been an important contributor to the Volcanoes design journey in recent years.

After his assignment in Kyambura was completed he took on various projects in the region including the redevelopment of the Dar-es-Salaam Yacht Club, other lodge and community projects. 

He was a gifted and creative designer, pushing the limits, experimental and unconventional in his designs. He was an avid student of the creations of great architects and designers, of alternative architectural styles and building materials. He reveled in sharing ideas, leading student workshops and entering competitions, including one for building a complete new town in Norway.

Working in partnership with the Volcanoes team he gave Kyambura Gorge lodge a contemporary modern twist. Drawing inspiration from ‘every day’ Africa, it celebrates the abundance, vibrancy and resourcefulness of found or discarded objects in a way not originally intended. This ‘up-cycling’ is a hallmark of the design of the lodge and it received recognition from different bodies – a testament to Ross’ inspirational vision. He also initiated an exchange scheme for providing new iron sheets for the roofs of some village homes belonging to HIV infected patients, a school and a mosque, in exchange for their rusty distressed sheets for use on the lodge which were more appropriate for the lodge’s design needs.

On a personal note Ross was vibrant and sensitive; he had a warm personality and was able to charm everyone with his mischief and sense of humor. His death is especially tragic as he and his partner Elif, both who is also reported to have died in the incident, were due to have a child in Nairobi shortly. He will be missed not only by his colleagues and friends at Volcanoes, but by his many friends and design collaborators in many countries.

Our thoughts are with the families of Ross and Elif and all the other families affected by the Nairobi incident. Volcanoes Safaris and Ross and Elif’s friends will be commemorating their passing in Kampala shortly. We will also be marking Ross’s long an close association with Volcanoes in a permanent way.

Praveen Moman
Volcanoes Safaris
Tuesday 24 September

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